China's Trading and Commerce

12 July 2021

For the past 50 years, China’s preeminence in global trade has continued expanding at a remarkable pace. The country’s importance to international commerce has fueled its internal prosperity and contributed to increases in consumer and industrial demand for its products throughout the world.

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China is leveraging its domestic capacity to achieve economic growth and economies of scale that are deemed prerequisites for modernization and improved standards of living for its citizenry.

China’s trade with developing countries has been internally financed through various forms of financial assistance, such as grants or credits, available through its numerous central planning committees and organizations. Since 1990, China has experienced a positive balance of trade with its trading partners and its elite position in global trade has been solidified through its strategic and political relationship with Hong Kong and its economic relationship with Taiwan. Both countries have contributed, albeit in different degrees, to China’s dominance amongst its trading alliances throughout Asia.

Chinese Imports

Most of China’s imports consist of heavy equipment, semiconductors, office machines, and computers. Chemicals and fuels are also high on the list of good that China brings into the country from abroad. Many of China’s imports are sourced from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, the European Union (EU) and the U.S. Regionally, about 50% of China’s imports originate from countries in East and Southeast Asia with 25% of China’s exports shipped to those same Asian countries.

Chinese Exports

Most of China’s exports consist of manufactured goods, such as electronic and electrical machines and equipment, textiles, clothes, and footwear. While these categories represent the major categories of exports from China, its also exports various agricultural products, fuels, chemicals and precious metals. Export destinations primarily include Hong Kong, Japan, the EU, the United States, and South Korea.

Economic and Technological Advances

As China’s economy grew, its leaders prioritized the acquisition of equipment, technology, resources and knowledge – all of which were prerequisites necessary to fuel the expansion of its domestic manufacturing. In the 1980’s, China further accelerated its economic growth by leveraging newly developed technologies and began expanding its economic influence on global trade.

Committed to leveraging its vast resources, the country’s leadership demonstrated its commitment to pursuing aggressive commercial policies that expanded its trading and economic relations with other countries – most notably in industrialized countries. The open-trade policy cemented China’s international reputation though bi-lateral trade agreements thereby facilitating better economic trade relations and formalizing its role as a source of prolific foreign investment.

The Top Importer and Exporter in the World

China’s economic future looks unquestionably bright. But in many political circles, leaders and politicians are voicing concerns about China’s trade practices and policies and the impact on free and fair trade between nations. The response from world leaders to China’s growing dominance will profoundly depend upon whether tensions are inflamed by rhetoric or if differences can be resolved through compromise and conciliation.